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It’s the first standalone Raw PPV of WWE’s brand split era with the Raw brand presenting the Clash of Champions PPV with all titles on the line. …
WWE Clash of Champions PPV Report
September 25, 2016
Live in Indianapolis, Ind.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
Clash PPV Pre-Show
– The panel this month is Renee Young with Booker T, Jerry Lawler, and Lita. Tom Phillips was tucked away in the social media lounge for an interview with Sami Zayn.
A — NIA JAX vs. ALICIA FOX
Alicia tried to kick and punch Jax as soon as the bell sounded, but Jax slowed her down and punished her for a few minutes. A. Fox fought back with a neck-snap across the top rope, then connected with a cross-body splash for a one count. Fox nailed a scissors kick, but Jax powered out of a pin. And, that was it for Fox, who ran right into a shoulder tackle. Jax followed with a corner butt bomb, then she nailed a big Samoan Drop for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Jax at 4:55.
Clash of Champions Main PPV
The PPV started with a video package highlighting all of the Raw brand’s top champions, plus their challengers in tonight’s big title matches.
Live in the arena, Michael Cole introduced the show along with Corey Graves and Byron Saxton. Big E.’s voice then shouted out to Indy to bring out Raw tag champions Big E., Xavier Woods, and Kofi Kingston.
Once in the ring, the trio addressed the crowd. Kofi said they have been tag champs for 399 days. But, two people want to take these titles and break them up like Brangelina. Who could those people be? Whooooo? Whooooo? Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. (boo) Xavier opined that fans do not want Gallows and Anderson to be champs because they are not fun. But, the worst of all, according to Kofi, is they have never poured a bowl of Booty-O’s. Luke and Karl were out next to challenge for the belts.
1 — WWE tag champions NEW DAY (KOFI KINGSTON & BIG E. w/Xavier Woods) vs. THE CLUB (KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS) — Raw Tag Title match
As the bell sounded, Cole noted The Club is trying to be the third team to hold the IWGP Tag Titles and WWE Tag Titles, joining The Steiners and The Dudleys. Suddenly, Luke left ringside and knocked out Big E. Meanwhile, Karl drppped Kofi with a running powerbomb for a close two count. They sure engaged up the crowd with a big attack in the opening minute nearly ending the match in surprising match.
Also on the outside, Luke knocked out Xavier and tossed around his trombone, then Club isolated Kofi in the ring. Big E. finally got a tag and he dropped Anderson with a splash before running right into a knee smash. But, Big E. answered with a frontslam for a two count.Suddenly, The Club nailed a combo on Big, but Kofi broke up the pin just in time.
Suddenly, The Club nailed a combo on Big, but Kofi broke up the pin just in time. Club continued the attack, including a massive chokeslam from Gallows to Kingston. Club wanted to end Kofi with the Magic Killer, but Kofi wiggled free just in time.
Tag to Big E., who dropped Anderson with the Big Ending, but Gallows yanked Big E. out of the ring just in time. Kofi then flew over the top rope to splash Gallows, wiping him out. Back in the ring, New Day combined for their top-rope finisher on Anderson for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: New Day at 6:45 to retain the Raw Tag Titles. Hot start for Club appearing to be set up for the win, but New Day kept the titles for another month. This was a much better match than previous outings with the fast pace. (**1/2)
Video Package: T.J. Perkins won the inaugural Cruiserweight Tournament and the re-introduced Cruiserweight Title to bring to Raw. Now, he makes his first title defense against Brian Kendrick. Lengthy video to allow the production crew to change the ring ropes to purple.
In-ring: Kendrick was introduced first, followed by CW champion T.J. Perkins, who was not included in the Raw TV introduction on Monday night. Perkins was given a video game ring introduction with music, graphics, and text. Pretty neat.
As Cole talked about Perkins training at the New Japan Dojo in Los Angeles back in the day, both men met in the middle of the ring to adhere to the Code of the Cruiserweights. However, Kendrick refused to shake Perkins’s hand. Cue the bell.
2 — Cruiserweight champion T.J. PERKINS vs. BRIAN KENDRICK — Cruiserweight Title match
Perkins went for the kneebar early on, but Kendrick blocked and scampered out of the ring. Kendrick then trapped Perkins in the ropes like Fit Finlay and pounded a defenseless Perkins. Back in the ring, Kendrick got trapped in the Mutalock, but Kendrick made it to the ropes for a break.
Kendrick responded with a straight-jacket submission, but Perkins escaped. TJP then nailed a sick hurcanrana from the inside to the outside. Kendrick was stunned, but avoided a top-rope 450 splash. Kendrick tried to slap on the Captain’s Hook submission, but Perkins blocked the full application.
Perkins followed with a fireman’s carry into a face-smash. Perkins immediately slapped on the kneebar submission. Kendrick had to tap out. After a replay of the finish, WWE cut back live to Perkins getting his hand raised in victory.
WINNER: Perkins via submission at 10:31 to retain the Cruiserweight Title. Nice showcase match for the Cruiserweight division. On commentary, though, Corey Graves is two-f0r-two on giving away match results declaring “new champ(s)” before nearfalls. (**3/4)
Post-match, T.J. Perkins was interviewed about winning the tournament and retaining the title. Suddenly, Brian Kendrick interrupted before Perkins got in a sentence. Perkins extended his hand and Kendrick shook. Kendrick embraced Perkins, appearing to put aside his ill feelings. But, Kendrick suddenly headbutted TJP in the jaw. So much for Kendrick showing respect. Kendrick left the ring as Perkins sold pain.
Video: WWE 2K17 “underground” trailer focusing on Suplex City. Hey, there’s Alberto Del Rio. Oops.
Backstage: Tom Phillips brought in Cesaro, who was dressed in his PPV white tuxedo. Phillips asked Cesaro if he’s capable of making the big comeback after going down 3-0 in this series against Sheamus. Cesaro said he’s proved that he’s mentally tough winning the last three matches, and now he will prove that he is physically dominant.
3 — SHEAMUS (3-3) vs. CESARO (3-3) — Match #7 in Best-of-Seven Series to receive future title opportunity
Cesaro was covered in atheltic tape to sell the effects of this battle, which is now about 15 matches deep counting house shows and pre-series Raw TV matches. Sheamus tried to control Cesaro early on to take advantage of Cesaro’s weakened state. But, Cesaro came back with Rey Mysterio’s 619 that he has been doing on house shows. That shocked the crowd, then Cesaro followed up with a spinning European Uppercut for a two count.
Both men sold the effects of the match, then Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick, but Cesaro avoided, dropped Sheamus to the mat, and put Sheamus in the Big Swing. Cesaro blocked out the pain, then slapped on the Sharpshooter, but Sheamus reached the bottom rope for a break just in time.
Cesaro tried to deadlift suplex Sheamus back into the ring, but his back would not co-operate. So, he stopped trying and big-booted Sheamus down to the floor. Suddenly, Cesaro went flying through the ropes with a suicide dive and Cesaro went head-first into the padded mat. That was super-dangerous-looking. The ref checked on Cesaro, who sold being loopy. Cesaro rolled Sheamus back into the ring, but Sheamus caught him with the Brogue Kick. The crowd booed, believing Sheamus was going to win, but Cesaro kicked out just before three.
At 12:00, Sheamus targeted the neck with power offense, but Cesaro fought back with a kick to the face. Cesaro hit the Neutralizer right in the middle of the ring, but Sheamus kicked out just before three. The crowd fired up after the exchange of finisher nearfalls.
Cesaro and Sheamus kept the fight going on their feet. Cesaro suddenly nailed a leaping dropkick to Sheamus, sending him reeling to the ring apron. Cesaro then wanted a crazy suplex over the turnbuckle to destination unknown. But, Sheamus headbutted Cesaro onto the ring apron. Sheamus then flew off the top turnbuckle, but Cesaro intercepted with a big European Uppercut.
Still on the floor, they blasted each other over the guardrail into the front row. Cesaro sold injuring his forearm and Sheamus sold not being able to continue. The referee consulted with ringside officials, who said neither man can continue. Referee John Cone made the decision to call off the match, and the bell sounded.
Post-match, Cesaro argued with Cone that he can wrestle with one arm. Sheamus was dragged to his feet and helped away from ringside, but he squirmed like a fish out of water not wanting help. “Foley, Foley” and “Let Them Fight” chants from the crowd. Sheamus collapsed on the floor, while Cesaro rolled into the ring to stand tall. Sheamus had to be restrained by multiple refs and officials to finally be dragged away to the back. Cesaro’s music then played as he remained standing in the ring.
WINNER: No Contest at 16:36. That was a heck of a final ten minutes selling the intensity of the feud and series. The result wasn’t what you wanted on PPV, but WWE is desperate to draw an audience on Raw TV tomorrow night that they’ll probably have another try at Match #7 on Monday. (***1/2)
Backstage: Bayley prepared for her Raw Women’s Title shot to loud cheers from the live crowd. In walked Charlotte to loud boos. Charlotte ran down Bayley, who gleefully talked about earning her title shot tonight. Charlotte told her that she’s not going to win tonight. Bayley replied that she beat Charlotte a few weeks ago, and she will beat her again tonight. Charlotte said she can’t beat her, because she can’t beat Sasha Banks. Ooh, burn. Bayley no-sold the dig as Charlotte walked off.
In-ring: Sami Zayn was introduced to the ring for the next match. After a video review of Zayn’s feud with Chris Jericho, the Gift of Jericho made his way out sneering at the crowd.
4 — CHRIS JERICHO vs. SAMI ZAYN
As the bell sounded, Jericho slowly removed his unique scarf to taunt Zayn and the crowd. Zayn charged Jericho, blasting him into the corner. Meanwhile, the crowd was more into Jericho than Zayn, who tried to get the crowd behind him with a hard, resounding chop to the chest.
The match moved to the floor, where Zayn ran off the guardrail with a moonsault onto Jericho, who fell to the mat clutching his left knee. Back in the ring, Jericho heelishly used the referee as a distraction to allow him to dropkick Zayn off the ring apron. Jericho followed with a flying elbow from the top rope for a two count.
Jericho continued to pound Zayn, who woke up when Jericho slapped him across the face. Zayn smashed Jericho with slaps, then he ran the ropes to drop Jericho to the mat. Zayn wanted the Helluva Kick, but Jericho rolled out of the ring to avoid. No matter, as Jericho charged the turnbuckle and got 75 percent of his trademark Torpedo DDT.
Back in the ring, Jericho avoided the Helluva Kick, then tried the Codebreaker, but Zayn blocked. Zayn nailed an exploder suplex into the corner, then tried the Helluva for a third time, but Jericho avoided and rolled through into the Walls of Jericho. Zayn could not make it to the ropes, so he rolled underneath Jericho into a small package for a two count.
Jericho then climbed to the top turnbuckle, but Zayn intercepted with the Blue Thunder Bomb for a close two count. Zayn was slow to follow up, allowing Jericho to suddenly nail Zayn with the Codebreaker. Jericho made a quick cover for a three count to win.
WINNER: Jericho at 15:22. Strong singles match. Not particularly memorable on a show filled with title matches and Best-of-Sevens, but a strong match on its own. Jericho getting the win was a surprise result unless WWE plans to transition Jericho to a more important role as a legacy star boosting Raw TV interest. (***)
Backstage: Kevin Owens was shown looking at the Universal Title belt preparing for his first title defense. Stephanie McMahon, now 40, walked into the shot with Mick Foley to hype Owens as the new champion. Owens was a little confused since neither one of them like him. Owens vowed to show Stephanie why her husband, Triple H, made the right decision to pick him over Seth Rollins. And, he vowed to show Foley why he should have been the #1 Draft Pick, not Rollins. Owens said he will show the world why Seth is no longer The Man, just The Mistake.
Announcers: Cole, Graves, and Saxton hyped Owens vs. Rollins tonight in the main event.
Video Package: Raw Women’s Title feud.
In-ring: Bayley was introduced first as one of the title challengers. Big reaction for NXT’s legacy women’s star. Cole said Bayley had her first wrestling match eight years ago, and now she’s challenging for the Raw Women’s Title. Sasha Banks was out next looking to win back the title. Charlotte was out last with Dana Brooke to defend the title. Jo-Jo handled formal ring introductions when everyone was ready in the ring.
5 — Raw Women’s champion CHARLOTTE (w/Dana Brooke) vs. BAYLEY vs. SASHA BANKS — three-way Raw Women’s Title match
Sasha, who was wrestling with taped ribs, immediately tackled Charlotte and threw her out of the ring while Bayley watched with nothing to do in the ring. So, Bayley left, scooped up Charlotte, and tossed her into the ring to get a two count. Sasha and Bayley then got into it, arguing about who was going to win this match.
The argument allowed Charlotte to ditch Bayley and then attack Sasha, focusing on her injured ribs/back. Sasha got rid of the tape to fight through the pain without restrictions, but Charlotte cut her off with Natural Selection. Charlotte wanted the Figure-Eight, but Bayley broke it up. Bayley then hit B-2-B on Charlotte, but Sasha broke up the pin.
Charlotte was the aggressor after the exchange, landing back-and-forth chops to the challengers. She then nailed a top-rope moonsault onto both Sasha and Bayley. She opted to cover Sasha, who kicked out before three. She tried Bayley, but Sasha slapped on the Bank Statement on Charlotte. Dana of course got involved by dragging Charlotte out of the hold, which is legal in WWE’s triple threat scenario.
Sasha put Charlotte in the Bank Statement again, kicked Dana out of the ring, and Bayley broke up the submission this time. Bayley tried a suplex, but Sasha put her in the Bank Statement. This time, Charlotte broke it up. Charlotte then shoved Bayley into Banks, who recoiled into Dana. Bayley was incapicated in the process, allowing Charlotte to smash her with a boot to the face for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Charlotte at 15:28 to retain the Raw Women’s Title. They just keep beating Bayley. Sasha could afford to take the loss with an “out” of the injured back/ribs and keep Bayley on a clear chase, but now Bayley is sliding down the ladder into a mere novelty act instead of WWE capitalizing on her potential for superstardom. The match itself was good and a lot safer than at Summerslam. (***)
[Intermission. The PPV Pre-Show Panel reset the show and talked about earlier events.]
Video Package: Rusev, the heel, is battling for the honor of his wife after Roman Reigns, the babyface, disrespected Lana and ruined their wedding ceremony.
In-ring: Lana was in the ring to introduce U.S. champion Rusev. Rusev made his way out to the ring, then his music stopped and the boo-birds emerged. It was not for Rusev’s presence, but anticipating the arrival of Roman Reigns, who was out next to a loud mixed reaction. As Reigns walked to the ring, Cole recapped The Shield debuting in this building four years ago.
6 — U.S. champion RUSEV (w/Lana) vs. ROMAN REIGNS — United States Title match
This match never got started at Summerslam, but there was a clear bell and clean start to the match this time around. They went back and forth before Rusev targeted Reigns’s throat and drove him into the turnbuckle. Reigns sold in the corner before Rusev sent him shoulder-first into the opposite turnbuckle.
On the floor, Rusev drove Reigns back-first into the guardrail. Some of the crowd briefly broke into a “C.M. Punk” chant, but Rusev drove Reigns into the guardrail on the other side of the ringside area to distract the audience. Back in the ring, Rusev wore down Reigns with a mat-based bear hug.
Rusev maintained control of the match until missing a diving headbutt from the second rope. Reigns quickly capitalized with a Samoan Drop for a two count. Reigns clotheslined Rusev over the top rope to the floor, then he smashed the champ into a barricade.
Back in the ring, Reigns cocked his fist for the Superman Punch, but Rusev blocked and punched Reigns in the face. Reigns answered, prompting a standing punch exchange. Rusev then kicked Reigns in the face to knock down the challenger. Rusev tried to warm up for a thrust kick, but Reigns intercepted with a Superman Punch for a two count.
Suddenly, Lana hopped on the ring apron to yell at Reigns, distracting him, and allowing Rusev to kick Reigns in the face for a close two count. Rusev threw a fit instead of following up. Rusev eventually kicked Reigns in the back and went for The Accolade, but Reigns slipped out and nailed the spear. Reigns covered, but Lana yanked the ref out of the ring.
On the floor, the ref argued with Lana, who tried to say she didn’t do anything. The ref was about to DQ Rusev, but instead kicked out Lana from ringside. Lana threw a fit up the ramp while Reigns tried to follow up against Rusev on the outside. Reigns threw Rusev back into the ring looking for a spear, but Rusev kicked him in the face. One, two, super-nearfall.
Rusev immediately followed up with The Accolade in the middle of the ring. Reigns fought the hold as Rusev leaned back on the hold. Reigns nodded his head trying to wake himself up and get inspiration, then he powered to his feet to escape, but Rusev eye-raked him. Rusev left himself vulnerable, though, and Reigns smashed him with a spear in the middle of the ring. Reigns covered Rusev for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Reigns at 17:07 to capture the U.S. Title. That was a rollercoaster incorporating all of the house show elements like Lana’s interference and a teased DQ finish paying off Reigns’s quest to dethrone Rusev. The crowd was mixed in their reception to Reigns, though, and it’s Reigns, so the value of the payoff is up to the beholder. (***)
WWE’s next PPV: Smackdown presents No Mercy in two weeks.
Backstage: Seth Rollins was walking down the hallway. Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley approached Rollins to talk him up, like they did with Kevin Owens. Seth told them to save it. He said they’re going to realize after tonight that they bet on the wrong guy. And, tell your husband that he bet against the wrong guy.
HIAC plug: Raw’s next PPV is Hell in a Cell on October 30 in Boston.
Video Package: Finn Balor became the first Universal champion. Then, he got injured. And now it’s the Kevin Owens Show after Triple H helped Owens and turned on Rollins.
In-ring: Seth Rollins was introduced to the ring first to a mixed reception. Rollins paced the ring, then Kevin Owens’s music played to a mixed reception. Cole said Owens went to his first WWF PPV 21 years ago this week. Now, he is headlining his first WWE PPV. Once both men were in the ring, JoJo handled formal ring introductions. No Stephanie and Foley at ringside to watch their main event.
7 — Universal champion KEVIN OWENS vs. SETH ROLLINS — Universal Title match
As soon as the bell sounded, Owens did his typical move bailing from the ring to the floor to frustrate Seth and try to get under his skin. It worked, as Owens dominated the early part of the match. Rollins was nearly counted out after Owens worked over his left knee on the outside. Owens followed with a senton splash to Rollins’s mid-section for a two count.
Owens settled into a KO Chinlock keeping Seth down on the mat. Owens let up, then punished Seth into the corner turnbuckle. Owens rocked Seth with right hands, then Seth suddenly caught Owens with a Slingblade. Rollins then knocked Owens to the floor and started clearing the Spanish announce table.
Owens saw what was going on and rolled back into the ring. Rollins tried to suplex the champ, but Owens slipped out, only to take a sidekick from Rollins for a two count. Suddenly, Owens took out the knee again and nailed a corner cannonball splash for a two count.
Owens wanted to go old-school with a Package Piledriver, but Rollins escaped and kicked Owens in the face to put both men down on the mat. The match moved to the top turnbuckle, where Owens nailed a super gutbuster across his knee. Owens followed with a frogsplash for a close two count.
Owens, frustrated, dragged Rollins to the outside looking to do damage on the Spanish announce table. Owens told the ref and Rollins to suck it, then he ran off the German table and crashed right through the Spanish table when Rollins moved out of the way.
Rollins managed to get Owens back into the ring, where he delivered a flying knee for a two count. Rollins went back to the top looking for a frogsplash, and he connected. Rollins covered for a two count. Suddenly, Chris Jericho jogged down to ringside. Jericho distracted Rollins, who then took Owens’s safe WWE version of the Package Piledriver, but Rollins kicked out of the pin.
Jericho got on the ring apron to yell at the ref and shout instructions, then Rollins shoved Owens into Jericho, bumping him to the floor. Rollins told Owens to suck it, then he nailed the Pedigree. But, Jericho put Owens’s foot on the bottom rope. The ref just saw Owens’s foot on the bottom rope and stopped his count, missing Jericho’s involvement.
Rollins got up selling anger, then he chased around Jericho, resulting in the ref being bumped. Owens tried the pop-up powerbomb, but Seth countered with a Pedigree. Seth got a visual 20 count (as counted by the fans) while the ref was down. Jericho then attacked Seth from behind as the announcers sold anger over these developments.
Chaos continued to unfold as the ref was nowhere to be found. Seth eventually picked up the ref and tried to drag him into the ring. But, he stopped when Stephanie McMahon sent a new ref down to the ring, about five minutes late. Ref John Cone checked on the original ref, then entered the ring as Owens surprised Rollins with a pop-up powerbomb. Owens covered Rollins for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Owens at 25:07 to retain the Universal Title. The first-half of the match really dragged with two heelish characters going through their paces. Then, you had all kinds of shenanigans in the final portion, plus focus on Stephanie McMahon with the ongoing saga of her involvement in the Universal Title picture. It was a mess. WWE simply does not have a strong lead babyface on Raw for the audience to really get behind or have a visceral emotion attached to whether he wins or loses, like your favorite football team. (**1/2)
Post-match, they cut to a shot of Stephanie selling no emotion over how things unfolded. Jericho grabbed his buddy Owens and helped him up the entrance ramp to the back as Cole and Co. lamented the main event ending this way. Jericho sang “We Are the Champions” as Owens tried to collect himself on the stage. The PPV signed off at 11:09 p.m. EST.
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